Saturday, February 14, 2015

2655 Oliver Avenue North Is "So many memories now punctuated by an empty lot."

Contributed photo, blog post by John Hoff

A woman who lived at 2655 Oliver Avenue North as a young girl emailed me, having turned up some of my writings that mention the address, which is now a vacant lot, click here for an example. 

I figure it would be a good thing to document this history as told by a former occupant of the house. One day a new, energy efficient "green house" might be on that vacant lot and whoever lives there might appreciate the history of the lot, though the old house itself was an Aztec-like, beating-heart-torn-from-the-chest sacrifice to the insatiable Backhoe of Doom...

Here is what the woman, whose current name I am not sharing, says about her idyllic childhood at 2655 Oliver Ave. N.

I came across your blog post regarding demolished property in North Minneapolis, and replied in a comment.  That property was close to my heart; I lived there between the ages of 5-10 and it holds some of my best memories.  Trick or treating, playing kick-ball using the street corners, friends, buying candy at Rog & Jim's on the corner of 26th and Penn, bread runs to Red Owl for my mom, school at Lowell and North Star Elementary, biking to and sledding at Sunset Park ... I couldn't have asked for a better neighborhood in which to build this treasure of memories.  

It is sad to see the working class neighborhood in ruin and this unique home wiped off the face of the earth.  

I want to thank you for helping to raise awareness, and your attempts to preserve this incredibly rich history of architecture and neighborliness. Your post mattered to me.

Unfortunately (yes, it is), my father was transferred to Ohio in 1978 when I was nearly 13, and it is where I reside today.  My home is still in Minnesota, and my fondest memories are found in and around 2655 Oliver Avenue North.  I was one of the Smith girls! 

In a follow up email she wrote:

My heart is tied to Minneapolis and to the A-Z streets I freely roamed in North Mpls as s kid. So many memories now punctuated by an empty lot. 

To these communications the blogger replies: 

A store that was NICE once stood at the corner of 26th and Penn? That's a happy thought. If you want to send me a much longer email with your memories of growing up in North Minneapolis I'd be honored to publish those. 

Just do it soon before I retire from seven years in the profitless blogging biz to devote all my effort to my college-aged son and writing cutting edge novels, ha ha. 




No, actually I'm NOT kidding. But I'll cover that topic more in future blog posts. 

In closing, "Miss Smith," I'd just like to assure you people are working hard to take back this historic neighborhood from the forces of crime and chaos, struggling to make North Minneapolis the kind of place it was before the crack cocaine epidemic, "Murderapolis" and the mortgage meltdown. 

Ours is a slow, bloody struggle but we are winning and Urban Utopia can be glimpsed upon the horizon, click here for encouraging evidence. 

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